Make Medicare changes now
Medicare and supplemental health coverage provide a safety net for those age 65 and up, but insurance coverage, at best, can be confusing.
For the nearly 117,000 Montgomery County residents who are 65 years or older now is the time to think DERuW KHDlWK FDUH FRYHUDJH, DV 2FW. 15 ZDV WKH fiUVW GDy and Dec. 7 the last day those with Medicare can make changes to their health insurance plans.
Following are tips from one insurance carrier for those using Medicare.
• (YHn LI yRu’UH KDSSy ZLWK yRuU FuUUHnW FRYHUDJH, LW doesn’t hurt to compare plans. Most plans make changes every year, so it’s worth checking even if you carefully considered plans last year. If you still like what you have, do nothing and you’ll automatically be reenrolled in your current plan.
• 2ULJLnDl 0HGLFDUH (3DUWV $ DnG B) GRHVn’W FRYHU everything. Take a look at your regular monthly health care expenses and decide what plan covers what you nHHG DW WKH EHVW FRVW. 2ULJLnDl 0HGLFDUH GRHVn’W FRYHU everything and has no limits on out-of-pocket expenses.
• 0HGLFDUH $GYDnWDJH SlDnV SURYLGH DGGLWLRnDl EHnHfiWV. 0HGLFDUH $GYDnWDJH SlDnV (3DUW C) DUH DnRWKHU RStion to original Medicare. They provide comprehensive coverage with fewer out-of-pocket costs than original Medicare and often include coverage for prescription drugs (Part D). Medicare Advantage plans also offer adGLWLRnDl EHnHfiWV, VuFK DV KHDULnJ, GHnWDl, YLVLRn VHUYLFes, help managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, and additional support after a hospitalization.
• CKHFN WKDW yRuU nHWZRUN LnFluGHV GRFWRUV DnG KRVpitals you will need. Your health needs can change, so it’s best to think ahead to be sure you have easy access to quality health care services.
• 0DNH VuUH yRuU SlDn FRYHUV WKH PHGLFDWLRnV yRu take. If you’re buying a Medicare Prescription (Part D) plan, check if there’s coverage for your drugs in the “GRnuW KRlH.” 7KLV LV ZKHUH yRu DUH UHVSRnVLElH IRU D certain percentage of charges after reaching your prescription coverage limit and before you reach the yearly out-of-pocket maximum spending limit.
• ,I SRVVLElH, GRn’W ZDLW unWLl WKH lDVW PLnuWH WR HnURll. The extra time helps your insurance company verify your eligibility, get you properly set up in their system, order your ID card, and ensure a smooth transition from 2012 to 2013.
• ,W’V 2. WR FKDnJH yRuU PLnG. )URP -Dn. 1 WR )HE. 14, 0HGLFDUH EHnHfiFLDULHV FDn FDnFHl WKHLU 0HGLFDUH $Gvantage plan and sign up for a Medicare Supplement, or return to original Medicare.
Where to go for help. A licensed broker can provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision and even come to your home to educate you. Also, many health plans offer community meetings DERuW 0HGLFDUH. CKHFN ZLWK Dn LnVuUHU nRZ WR finG RuW.
7KH RIfiFLDl U.6. JRYHUnPHnW VLWH IRU 0HGLFDUH, ZKLFK includes information on related supplemental health plans is at www.medicare.gov.